‘Solid North’ support for Gibo gaining ground

PNS — Major political leaders from Cagayan to Isabela to Ilocos Norte became the first provinces of the Ilocano-speaking Solid North to rally support for Lakas-Kampi CMD presidential candidate Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, Jr., calling him the country’s “best hope” in the race to the presidency in the 2010 elections.

Following a visit to Tuguegarao City Tuesday, Teodoro impressed provincial leaders and their constituents with his program of government and bold quality of leadership, according to Cagayan Governor Alfaro “Boy” Antonio.

The province’s city and town mayors needed little convincing to throw their support behind the ruling party’s standard-bearer, Antonio said.

“We all believe he is the best man for Malacanang,” he said of Teodoro, a three-time representative of Tarlac’s Third District and the only Ilocano-speaking candidate in the presidential race.

The province’s local chief executives jointly pledged more than 400,000 votes for Teodoro in the May 2010 elections—half the province’s estimated 800,000 voters based on the latest Commission on Elections data.

“Secretary Teodoro tops all the other presidential candidates with his intelligence and leadership, which are necessary for the job,” the governor said. “He has the only credible platform of government among the aspirants.”

Earlier, the two dominant political clans in Isabela, another Region 2 province, threw their support behind Teodoro, while Ilocos Norte Governor Michael Keon led a major group of political leaders who took their party oath under Lakas-Kampi CMD and pledged support for Teodoro’s presidential bid.

Teodoro said he was overwhelmed by the support and warmth showed by the Cagayenos.

Upon his arrival in Tuguegarao City, he was met by Antonio, Vice-Governor Bobby Fausto and City Mayor Delfin Ting who hosted the Lakas-Kampi CMD candidate during his visit.

“We will campaign hard for him in Cagayan,” Fausto said. “Cagayenos, when they see a candidate worth supporting, will do everything in their power to ensure his or her victory.”

Ting said Teodoro has a blueprint for advancing the province’s rural economy through the building of more infrastructure and development projects in the province’s vast rural areas.

“Secretary Teodoro is that unusual leader—the best of his generation—who comes across as sincere and intelligent, and who knows what the job of a president requires from day one,” the mayor said.

In Isabela, Rep. Faustino Dy III (3rd Dist), the Lakas-Kampi CMD candidate for governor, and his running mate, Rep. Rodolfo Albano III (1st Dist), said Teodoro’s accomplishment as a bar topnotcher and excellent record as a public servant will propel him to the presidency. The Dys and Albanos—scions of powerful political families—promised to deliver votes for Teodoro in Isabela.

Keon and some of the most prominent political leaders of Ilocos Norte, upon taking their oath of membership, said Teodoro is “most deserving” to become president. Joining Keon were provincial Board Members Angelo M. Barba, Ma. Elena M. Nalupta, Mariano Marcos II, Yvonne Ranada and Jessie Galano as well as Batac Mayor Jeffrey Nalupta and Vice-Mayor Ronald Allan Nalupta, Paoay Mayor Bonifacio Clemente Jr. and Vintar Mayor Eric Enriquez.

Teodoro, in his acceptance of the Lakas-Kampi CMD nomination, unveiled a program to modernize the country’s education system, improve the Filipinos’ entrepreneurial skills, create a comprehensive medical-care system so that the marginalized sector can avail of quality medical services, and devote more resources to the Philippines’ research-and-development programs to put the country back on technological roadmap.

Teodoro also vowed to fight poverty, build more infrastructure and launch wide-ranging reform to fast-track the country’s modernization drive.